My Struggle with Developing a Deep and Certain World View on Human Rights

Yasmeen El Gerbi
10 min readMar 24, 2022
Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

The Libyan State Police recently launched a controversial campaign arresting young Libyans and suppressing their right to self-expression. They claim that those young Libyans are attempting to spread “false ideas” threatening Libyan social and Islamic values. They described those ideas as “feminism”, “queerness/LGBTQ”, “atheism & secularism”.

They stated they are determined to stop Libyan youth from becoming involved with “foreign organizations” that spread these false ideas in a dire attempt to “rescue” Libyan society.

I could’ve easily been among those arrested since everything I believe in is false and bad according the Libyan State Police, but luckily I am not. This means I get to express myself here on this page. And today, as a Libyan young woman who’s infested with “false ideas”, I’d like to share my complex journey to developing them, which I’d refer to as “progressive”.

First, I want to shed light on a fundamental clash between my world view and the Libyan State Police’s world view.

My world view can be described as progressive embracing diversity in identity, thought, and action. I value religious tolerance, the right to self-expression, and gender equality. I tend to be more secular than religious and I welcome progression in society even if it means the change & evolution of its current national and social identity.

Meanwhile, the Libyan State Police world view can be described as conservative embracing the preservation of the status quo. They perceive any progressive values as threat to their core identity, which in their view, is based on religion (Islam) and passed down traditions that are sacred. They also believe in the absolute objective truth of their world view, meaning that any one who challenges that must be stopped because they’re a threat to how society is intended to function.

In the Libyan State Police view, I am a vessel for foreign influence who are manipulating me to assist them in their fight against Islam and Libya. I am a threat holding malicious intentions to spread false ideas and steer Libyan youth away from their truth. I am a parasite that must be eliminated.

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Yasmeen El Gerbi

I like exploring the complexity underlying our ideas, emotions, stories, norms, and lives.